What a way to arrive at my favorite city—my second home, New York. Days after flying in to spend a month working on some things in the city, I was invited to attend Pastificio di Martino’s Primo di New York pasta competition at none other than the James Beard Foundation’s historic house in Chelsea. Famed NY chefs Ed Schoenfeld, Silvia Barban, Carlo Bigi, Garrison Price, Rita Sodi, Joshua Pinksy, Jared Sippel, Raffaele Solinas, David de Lucia and Hillary Sterling each selected a different shape of pasta by Pastificio di Martino—they have hundreds of options!—and cooked up original and eclectic dishes to wow the jury and claim the winning title. The funny thing is, though I had just arrived back in the US, I was transported to Italy for an afternoon with all the other attendees at the competition. Everyone—and I mean everyone—was speaking Italian. I loved hearing all the chefs talk about the inspiration behind each dish and even seeing them in action behind the kitchen counter. Below are three of the competing dishes and their full recipes so you can try them yourself at home!
Hickory Smoked Fresine with Calabrian Chilies
Chef Silvia Barban, LaRina Pastificio e Vino
8g Calabrian chilies julienne with no seeds
1 Clove of garlic confit
10g Breadcrumbs from homemade focaccia
8g Toasted hazelnuts, some shoved and some chopped with breadcrumbs
50g extra virgin olive oil
1. Burn hickory woods to get the flavor for the cooking water of the pasta. Smoke the water using a smoking gun or just burn the chips in a pan.
2. Confit the garlic with lemon zest, salt, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil at 70ºC in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Put the smoking water in a pot and bring to boil. When the water is boiling add salt and the fresine. Mix and cook for seven minutes.
4. In a sauté pan add the Calabrian chilies, the garlic confit (no color), extra virgin olive oil, salt and the cooking water.
5. Take the pasta out from the water, and put it in the pan with the rest of the sauce, keep mixing “mantecare” when the sauce starts to be creamy and it’s almost ready use a smoking gun to get more flavor covering the pan with plastic wrap. Then serve surrounded by the breadcrumbs, hazelnuts, and finish with parsley cloves.
Fusilli Lunghi with Mediterranean Shrimp
Chef Carlo Bigi, Gemma
80g fusilli lunghi di Martino
30g gigante beans
20g kalamata olives
10g scallions finely chopped
2 head on Mediterranean shrimp
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 10/11 minutes.
2. Clean the shrimp and marinate the tails with olive oil lemon zest and sea salt and the diced Kalamata olives.
3. Use the heads and shells to prepare a light shrimp stock with some ginger and garlic infused.
4. Prepare a light gigante beans puree with the shrimp broth and some lemon zest.
5. Toss the pasta with olive oil squeeze of lemon, fresh scallions, some whole gigante beans.
6. Pour some of the gigante beans puree on a serving plate.
7. Serve the pasta over it and garnish everything with the diced Kalamata olives and Mediterranean shrimp marinated in olive oil and lemon zest finish everything with fresh Szechuan pepper.
Eliche Giganti with Salt Meadow Lamb Ragu
Chef Garrison Price, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Ingredients for Lamb Ragout (serves approx. 10 portions):
3 pounds Salt Meadow Lamb shoulder, whole
1 tablespoon Sicilian sea salt
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 pound leeks, just the white part, split and washed
1 pound fennel, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 pound carrot, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
8 ounces garlic cloves
3 fresh bay leaves
16 ounces dry white wine, such as, Bisson Pigato 2015
1 sprig fresh rosemary
5 sprigs fresh thyme
8 ounces pomodori di Puglia
2 quarts lamb stock
1 ounce Calabrian chili, chopped
Ingredients for Pasta (serves approx. 2 portions):
2 tablespoons moraiolo olive oil
1 clove garlic, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Sicilian anchovies, chopped
1 teaspoon Calabrian chili, chopped
4 ounces salt meadow lamb ragout (see above)
3 ounces dry eliche giganti pasta, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente
2 tablespoons peeled fava beans
1 cup fava bean leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
1 ounce salted pasta water
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon shaved pecorino Romano cheese
1 lemon for zesting
1 pinch of dry, crushed pepperoncino chili
Method For the Lamb Ragout:
1. First, season the lamb shoulder with sea salt, white pepper and coriander. Next, heat a heavy bottomed braising pan over medium high heat. Then, add olive oil and sear the shoulder on all sides until deep golden brown.
2. Next, remove the lamb shoulder; add in the onion, leeks, fennel, carrots and garlic. Sauté the vegetables until light brown, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Then, add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, lamb stock and calabrian chili. Stir to combine, and add the lamb shoulder back in. Cover the braising pan with aluminum foil and place in a 325 degree preheated oven and cook for 3 hours.
3. Then, remove the lamb from the oven; it should be very tender and falling off of the bone. Allow the lamb to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes uncovered. Carefully remove the lamb shoulder from the rest of the braise. Place all of the braising liquid and vegetables into a food mill and pass through to remove the herb stems but to retain the vegetable pulp to create body in the sauce.
4. Finally, pick all of the meat from the bone and shred to bite size pieces. Place the picked lamb meat into the milled braising sauce and cool completely. The sauce with the lamb should be a loose ragu consistency when it is warm. Reserve until you are ready to make the pasta.
Method For the Pasta Dish:
1. First, warm a medium size sauté pan over medium high heat. Next, add the olive oil, then, add the garlic, anchovy and chili. Sauté until the garlic begins to turn light golden brown and the anchovy melts into the oil.
2. Then, reduce the heat to medium and add the 4 ounces of lamb ragout to the pan, stir to combine everything. The ragout should be loose and just coat the back of a spoon. Next, add the hot al dente pasta to the pan, as well as, the fava beans and fava leaves. Toss to coat the pasta completely with the ragout. The beans and leaves will cook gently with the residual heat from the ragu.
3. Next, add the pasta water to loosen the ragout as it should have reduced slightly as it coats the pasta. Then add some of the tarragon leaves. Taste the ragout and add more salt and Calabrian chili oil to your taste.
4. Finally, transfer the pasta to a warm serving dish. Shave pecorino over the top, zest a ¼ of a lemon over the dish and garnish with a few tarragon leaves. For additional spice, add a little dry pepperoncino if you like.